Is Google+ A Ghost Town For You?

Why Google Plus is a Ghost Town - For You

It’s been all over much of the media that Google+ is a ghost town, despite hundreds of millions of users.  Is this true for you also?

If you think Google+ is a ghost town, you’re right. It probably is – for you – but it doesn’t need to be.

If one tries to use Google+ like Twitter – just sharing links with 140-characters or so – or Facebook, expecting that anybody much cares about where one partied – then one isn’t really engaging:

Engagement – in one word, is what Google+ is all about.  It’s the easiest and fastest way to get yourself going on Plus.  It’s like going to a social event or a neighborhood bistro:  You need to chat with others and not just talk at them.  

A few guidelines that may be helpful…and keep in mind that engagement is really a more productive approach.  It’s really not all about numbers.

Circles & Circling:  It’s Different

  • Circling a Google+ user doesn’t mean that the user will circle you back.  That’s another step, entirely dependent on that other user, which requires that he makes a decision, based on your profile and posts, to circle you.  If you’re asking if that user is notified that you’ve circled him, the answer is yes.  But being circled back is, again, up to that individual.
  • If you’re not circled by any specific Google+ user, that person will not see your posts in his stream.  Period. Read this again, since this is the biggest stumbling block most people don’t grasp: If you’re not circled by somebody, that person won’t see your posts unless he visits your Profile page. Odds of that? Slim-to-none.
  • Just because you have 4,000 friends on some other social media platform or 140,000 followers on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re going to be a Google+ rockstar.  That is, unless you’re some media star (e.g., Michael Dell, Larry Page, Mark Cuban, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga… you get the idea).

Google Plus Bluehead

Blue Head or Empty Profile:  No Circles

  • If you don’t spend time on your Profile, building your About page with some basic information about yourself, your interests, you may find you’re circled infrequently.
  • If you don’t post a respectable picture of yourself, preferably smiling, on your Profile page, you’re unlikely to be circled much.  Leaving your profile avatar (picture) at the default blue head is almost a 100% guarantee you’ll not be circled.

Posts About You, You, You:  No Circles

  • If you’ve not posted anything, you’ll not be circled much.  This is a chicken-and-egg problem, but if you can post just a few shares of some nice content that you like on the web, that will show other Plussers (Google+ users) that you know what you’re doing, that you’re real and not a robot.
  • If your posts are limited to you, you, you, your products, your life, your website, your whatever, you’ll probably make no headway. (Unless you’re Lady Gaga…)
  • If the posts you share are mostly you plussing other users (Hey, +User Name, what’s going on?) – over and over again – this is pretty much a guarantee that you’ll not be circled much. This kind of activity could be partially due to cultural issues, but it’s not well received in much of the Google+ user base.

Google+ Requires Real Engagement

  • Engagement doesn’t mean you sporadically plus some other persons’ posts.  While a nice thing to do (plussing meaning you like it, or you empathize, or you think the post is cool), it doesn’t build real engagement.  You may get circled back, but perhaps not.
  • Engagement takes time.  You need to comment and interact on relevant posts/shares from other people that interest you.  You’ll actually meet more people that way – and others will begin engaging with you – on others’ posts than you can imagine.  Note, though: Your commenting should be thoughtful, respectful, no flaming, and… appropriate to the discussion. Your input should reflect that you’ve read the post and any attached content!
  • Engagement with any of the Plussers with tens of thousands of followers will take time.  That’s just the truth of the matter.  And, with some of them, it may never happen.  Just continue engaging professionally, meeting and circling other commenters on their threads, and you’ll build your own tribe.
  • Communities are a great way to meet people with similar interests who you can circle – and you’re more likely to get circled back if you’ve been an active Community participant.

Remember that leveraging social media technologies requires engagement, as I wrote some time ago in reference to Twitter?  

Well, Google+ is no different in terms of building engagement, but even more so:  It’s the most engaging social media platform with which I’ve worked in almost a decade. So, if Google+ is a ghost town to you, you’re a ghost to it.  But you can transform yourself and your relationship in Google+!

Engage with others and avoid the missteps – and you may find yourself in the richest social networking platform yet.


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